September 03, 2009

a capital WTF

This was a badly designed challenge. The first part was boring and uninspired ("Create a fun and fashionable surf wear look" and "infuse it with a point of view" - how much blander can it get?), the second part (creating an "avantgarde design" to accompany the first look) was incomprehensible and merely tacked on. Oh, and it was a team challenge. Brought to us "by our friends at Garnier."

In previous seasons, the avantgarde challenge was a high point. Just think of the fabulous dress created by Christian Siriano and Chris March two seasons ago. It's a PR icon. As was the runner-up, a stunning coat ensemble designed by Jillian Lewis and Victorya Hong. This, ladies and gentlemen, is fashion.


This time, however, the avantgarde aspect of the challenge was a complete letdown, or, to put it more euphemistically and Tim Gunn-like: The whole episode was an "enormous conundrum"*, or, as Ra'mon succinctly stated, a "capital WTF". I firmly believe that nothing good can come from a challenge that involves sending Tim Gunn to the beach in flip-flops.**







I clearly don't have a clue what "fun and fashionable surf wear look" means, because most of the designs just looked like ordinary summer clothes to me. And the common denominator of the avantgarde designs seemed to be that they were costumy, heavy-handed, and unflattering. See exhibit A.


The teams that were the greatest pain to watch (thanks, editors) ended up as the teams with the highest and the lowest score. Epperson and Qristyl (how my fingers itch when I have to type that letter combination!) gave us a master lesson in passive aggressiveness, and Mitchell and Ra'mon illustrated the importance of prepositions: Working in a team does not equal working as a team. Heidi Klum considered Mitchell's performance, or rather non-performance, as his third strike against the law of Project Runway ("You have to design, and create, and sew"). Three strikes and you're out.

In a surprising turn, the judges took a strong liking to Ra'mon's last-minute lime-green seaweed-washed-ashore
neoprene*** dress and declared him the winner. I hope that this means that we're done with beach challenges -- I'd rather not see Tim Gunn in flip-flops again.

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* The origin of this word is, well, a conundrum in itself. It may have been created as a parody of a Latin term. Alternative spellings of the word include conimbrum, quonundrum, quadundrum.
** In 1937, the name Neoprene was adopted to describe some kind of chloroprene rubber formerly sold under the trademark "DuPrene".
***
Interestingly, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the use of the word flip-flop to describe a politician who changes his mind to go with the flow precedes the use as a word for a type of sandal. Normally, the more abstract meaning is derived from the more concrete meaning, but perhaps wavering politicians have been around longer than rubber sandals.

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